Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said that Obama's decision to allow about 800,000 undocumented immigrants apply for work permits and enjoy temporary legal status is a short-term solution that would impede a long-term solution.
Romney, however, declined comment on Friday on whether he would reverse President Obama's decision to end deportations of undocumented immigrants.
CNN reports that Romney's measured response came more than five hours after the news of Obama's immigration rule shift was announced. According to CNN, Obama's new policy decision would allow immigrants younger than 30, who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, who have no criminal record, pose no security threat, are successful students or have served in the military, to apply for a two-year deferral of deportation.
According to ABC News, Romney campaign was forced to issue a statement in response to Obama's latest announcement after his campaign at first declined comments. But Romney gave a brief statement to his traveling press corps after a second stop on his bus tour, ABC News reports.
Politico reports he said: "I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country. I think the action of the president today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution because an executive order is of course, a short-term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents."
Politico reports Romney was careful, however, not to say whether he would overturn Obama's decision if he is elected president and thus left the question open. ABC News reports that Romney ignored questions shouted at him by reporters who wanted to know if he would reverse Obama's policy decision if elected. Some reporters also wanted to know if he considered Obama's decision motivated by politics.
But The Huffington Post reports that his comment on the subject was moderate, unlike comments by some Republicans who described the new policy position as "amnesty" and said it would encourage more unauthorized immigration. According to ABC News, Romney said he supported Senator Marco Rubio's call for a "long-term solution."
According to The Hill, Romney took a position similar to Senator Marco Rubia (R-Fla.). He said: "I'd like to see legislation that deals with this issue, and I happen to agree with Marco Rubio. If I'm president, we'll do our very best to have that kind of solution." Politico reports he said further that he would work to provided a "long-term" solution "that provides certainty and clarity for the people who come into this country, through no fault of their own, by virtue of the action of their parents."
The Huffingotn Post notes that contrary to statements that Obama's decision was an executive order, it was only a memo from the Department of Homeland Security to its agencies, but as The Huffington Post notes, Romney was correct that the decision could be reversed by a future president.
The New York Times comments that Obama's policy decision puts pressure on Romney at a time his (Obama's) campaign appears to be losing ground to Romney's. His sudden policy shift puts Romney in a dilemma by placing him under pressure to make a choice between further alienating Latino voters and alienating conservatives. The New York Times also comments that the timing also appears to have been carefully thought out. It comes at a time both Romney and Obama are scheduled to meet a group of elected Hispanic officials in Florida. Obama is also scheduled to meet immigration activists in the White House on Monday.
According to The Hufffington Post, Romney said he would consider supporting Senator Rubio's proposed legislation that is similar in details to Obama's. Rubio's proposal is a "weaker" version of the Dream Act that has wide support among Democrats. Rubio's proposed legislation would allow undocumented young people stay in the United States but with no path to citizenship.
The original DREAM Act, however, would allow some undocumented young people to become legal permanent residents, and provide opportunity to become citizens if they meet certain requirements. According to The Huffington Post, Romney had said in December that he would veto the DREAM Act as president. He said he would only support residency and not citizenship for those who served in the military. But more recently, he backed down on his more controversial hardline stance on immigration that originally included encouraging illegal immigrants to "self-deport."
According to CNN, Obama's campaign Press Secretary Ben LaBolt, criticized Romney's latest remarks, reminding him he had once said he would veto the DREAM ACT. LaBolt said: “During the primaries, Governor Romney called the DREAM Act a handout and said he would veto it. His ‘solution’ to our immigration challenges was self-deportation. Today he continues to refuse to express support for legislation that lets children who were brought to the U.S. and want to contribute by pursuing higher education or serve in the military stay in America."
According to CNN, Bill Burton, senior strategist for the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, also said: "Mitt Romney says immigrants come to American because they 'are looking for a free deal,' he calls the DREAM Act a 'handout' while promising to veto it, and he boasts about being more extreme that John McCain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Instead of proposing any ideas to reform immigration, Mitt Romney is more interested in questioning the character and motives of families who are working towards the American Dream."
The Hill reports that Senator Rubio criticized the Obama administration, saying it has once again ignored the Constitution and gone around Congress." He said: "There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run."